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Symantec Survey Shows Costs, Benefits of Mobile Adoption

Enjoy the benefits of mobility while minimizing the drawbacks

Symantec's 2013 State of Mobility Survey uncovered two distinct groups among businesses that have implemented mobility. One group could be called the Innovators. They are willing to take a chance as early adopters of technology, seeking opportunities to improve themselves and accepting the risks. On the other side is the group who could be considered Traditionals. This more conservative group resists change because of the risks. They are much more reactive than active, and do not like upsetting the status quo.

Business Attitudes Toward Mobile Adoption and Management
Keeping in line with this thinking, the two groups have different reasons for adopting mobility. The Innovators are motivated more by business drivers than any other factor, whereas for the Traditionals their most significant driver is end-user demand. This is evident in their attitudes toward the risks compared to the benefits. Most Innovators - two-thirds, in fact - say the risks of mobility are worth it. Three-quarters of the Traditionals, on the other hand, do not feel that the benefits outweigh the risks.

Given this difference in attitude, the Innovators have 50 percent more employees using smartphones than Traditionals. And their commitment to mobility also extends to purchasing phones for employees, at a rate of 55 percent compared to 44 percent of Traditionals. Mobile apps are also used more by Innovators, and they are far more likely - at 83 percent - to be discussing a private app store for employees, compared to slightly over half (55 percent) of the Traditionals.

In addition to simply allowing more employees to use mobile devices for business, the Innovators are taking a more active role in the management of devices. This includes implementing mobile policies and adopting information protection tools - regardless of whether the employee or the company owns the device. Technology also plays a greater role in policy enforcement among the Innovators, at nearly twice the rate of the Traditionals, who - when they do it at all - are more likely to use manual methods.

Weighing the Costs and Benefits
Those businesses taking greater advantage of mobility are seeing a larger number of mobility security incidents. Over the past year, the Innovators have seen losses as a result of these incidents, including lost productivity; direct financial costs; and loss of organizational, customer or employee data. In fact, they averaged 25 such incidents over the last year, compared to just 12 incidents averaged by the Traditionals. This is notable in light of the majority of Innovators who believe mobility is a net positive.

The key lies in the advantages of mobility, with Innovators seeing a number of impressive benefits throughout the organization. Overall they are seeing more satisfied employees and better retention rates, as well as greater productivity, efficiency and business agility. In addition, they report better company perception, customer happiness and overall competitiveness. In the end, the Innovators are experiencing higher revenue and profit growth, nearly 50 percent higher than the Traditionals.

Recommendations
The takeaway from the survey is the idea of enjoying the benefits of mobility while minimizing the drawbacks. In order to achieve this, Symantec makes the following recommendations:

  1. First, start embracing it now. While being cautious is a sensible approach, denying the benefits of mobility puts your organization at a disadvantage.
  2. Start with the apps that will immediately deliver the greatest productivity benefits to your employees.
  3. Learn from what the Innovators are doing. Keep mobile apps and data secure with effective mobile management and threat protection technology, and supply secure file sharing.

More Stories By Brian Duckering

Brian Duckering is senior manager, Enterprise Mobility Group, Symantec Corp. He is responsible for product marketing of Symantec’s mobility initiatives, covering everything from mobile management and security to protecting the networks that mobile devices rely on. He brings over twenty years of industry experience as an engineer, product manager, marketing manager and evangelist, developing and bringing to market innovative technologies for enterprises and small businesses. At Symantec, he has promoted the idea of an information-centric view and anytime, anywhere productivity for over 6 years.

Duckering is an often requested speaker internationally on a wide range of topics, technologies and trends, from virtualization to mobility. He has held executive level positions at both business- and consumer-facing companies and has multiple degrees in engineering and technology management.

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